Don’t you people ever go on holiday? We were expecting a relatively quiet August at writLOUD, thinking that most people had gone in search of sunnier climes or else were too depressed by the lousy weather to even consider leaving their homes. But it was another packed-out event, with latecomers forced to prop up the bar at the back.
In these recessionary times, writLOUD certainly gives value for money: two guest authors for the price (£3.50 donation to Oxfam) of one. Jill Mcgivering – Birkbeck Creative writing alumnus and BBC Foreign correspondent – read from her debut novel, The Last Kestrel. Set in Afghanistan, the book shows the impact of the war through the eyes of two women, one a British reporter, the other an Afghan mother. Jill read a powerful excerpt depicting the consequences of a firefight between British troops and the Taliban.
Our second guest, Mez Packer, read from her eighties-set novel, Among Thieves, giving us a window into the world of small time student drug dealers who confuse criminality with political radicalism. In the Q&A that followed, Mez spoke about why we continue to be fascinated by the eighties, the future of publishing in the digital age, and some of her – ahem – unorthodox techniques for writing in the voice of a male character.
There was a bit of a drug-dealing-mini-theme to the night: Matthew Wright read from his novel-in-progress, The Porkers’ Progress, introducing us to a trio of petty criminals as they trundled about London in a decrepit old van, dreaming of how life could have turned out otherwise.
Also on the bill were Azra Hussain, who gave an account of a very dysfunctional relationship with The Couple, and John Lucas, who rounded off the evening with a lyrical account of Becoming Mark Almond.
Our next event is on Monday 13th September, when we see the return of Jonathan Coe. See you there!